Video Interview Lighting Kit Review: Smith Victor K77

Want to get instant respect and impress your clients and subjects? Show up to your next video shoot with a K77 Interview Lighting Kit from Smith Victor and watch their eyes get wide with excitement. Not only will you look professional, this versatile light kit will make your videos look stunning and professional as well. This kit by Smith Victor will appeal to any videographer, whether beginner or advanced, who is interested in adding a level of quality that may have been missing from previous shoots.

First Impressions

The first thing you will notice about this kit is that it’s huge, so if you’re transporting your gear around in a Mazda Miata you may want to re-consider. Its case is nearly three feet wide and two feet tall and weighs in at over 36 pounds when fully loaded. One noticeable drawback was that the case was a little too flimsy for our taste. The handles felt as if they weren’t going to hold together and the case flexed as we picked it up. Despite this, we still felt comfortable with our gear protected by the internal padded compartments. The bottom line is that it’s a perfectly adequate case, just don’t go slinging it carelessly or inviting 500-pound gorillas to jump up and down on it.

What’s Included in the Kit

Opening the two latches on the black plastic case reveals lighting equipment that is neatly packed inside, and fits comfortably with out rattling around. The K77 kit is dubbed the "Interview Kit" because it includes what you would need to light a single subject with a traditional three-point lighting set up; a strong key light and two lights acting as a fill and backlight. The kit includes one 1,000-watt quarts broad light (model 750-SG) and two smaller quartz lights (models 165-UM) producing 600 watts each. The two smaller lights produce the traditional spot effect with a 30-degree beam. Two included 40-inch umbrellas allow the user to soften the light if necessary. The three lights combine to provide a satisfying 2,200 total watts of light. All three fixtures are professional looking, compact, lightweight and coated in a black finish to match the stands.

Using the Lights

After inspecting what was included in the kit, it was time to set up for our test shoot. The stands were easy to maneuver and set up in our desired position and we used extension cords to reach the outlets throughout the room. Before long we had a three-point lighting system, bouncing the fill light off the umbrella to soften it up. The result bathed our subject in a generous amount of light, creating a beautiful and refined studio look.

The broad light has a permanently attached four-leaf barn door system, which provides light control by flagging the light with thin sheets of metal. The manual mentioned that smoke might come from the barn doors the first time the light was used, due to the paint. However, we weren’t prepared for the amount of smoke that came billowing off them; causing us and our talent to be alarmed. Eventually the smoke died down but several people cautiously peeked into the office wondering if someone had set something on fire. Fortunately, our sprinklers and smoke alarms didn’t go off, but buyer’s should take this caution seriously. We recommend taking the light outdoors before powering it up the first time.

Safety

Since lights generate significant amounts of heat, safety is always a priority. We were happy to see that all three lights include safety glass to protect against an accidental light bulb explosion. Smith Victor even included a safety wire with the 1,000-watt broad light, which prevents the light from accidentally falling to the ground when mounted on an overhead lighting grid. Nice touches.

The Stands

The three 8-foot aluminum stands provided a sturdy support for the lights and had good balance. As mentioned, their sleek black color matched the lights and gave a uniform and professional look to the entire set up. The only thing to dislike about the stands was that the adjustment knobs were a little too close to the knobs for tightening the umbrella clamps. This was mildly annoying as we couldn’t tighten the umbrellas adequately (both fell several times as we were setting up our shoot).

Accessories

There are no accessories included with kit beyond the two umbrellas and one scrim. We were disappointed to find that there were no colored gels or diffusion material or gel holders included. However, Smith Victor and its supplier’s offer numerous gels, filters and clamps you might consider purchasing for the kit as add-ons.

Documentation

One neat thing included with the kit was a helpful lighting guide, showing over 20 set-up options for various looks. This was a welcomed, and extremely helpful, touch by Smith Victor and is sure to get beginners up to speed in a hurry.

Conclusion

The K77 Interview Kit provides videographers the illumination, control and versatility they’ll need to meet a variety of lighting needs. However, at $899, this particular kit has some serious competition from Lowel and other lighting kit makers. Fortunately we found the K77 online retailers an unbelievably low $600 price range, which was enough for us to advocate the K77 Interview Kit as a good choice for the budget-minded videographer.

TECH SPECS

Broad Light (1)

Rating 120 volt 8.4 amps 1,000 watts

Socket Recessed single-contact (R7S)

Switch In-line

Cable 10-foot, 3-wire grounded

Housing Vented steel

Reflector Embossed, soft-etched aluminum

Mounting Universal 3/8 to 5/8 inch

Weight 4 lb. 10 oz.

Quartz Light (2)

Rating 120 volt 5.4 amps 600 watts

Socket Miniature 2-pin (G5.3)

Switch In-line

Cable 10-foot, 3-wire grounded

Construction Double-wall vented aluminum

Mounting Universal – 3/8 to 5/8 inch

Reflector Pebble-finish spun aluminum

Weight 1 lb., 12 oz

STRENGTHS

  • Nice light quality
  • Sturdy stands
  • Safety features
  • Getting-started guide

WEAKNESSES

  • No gels or diffusion included
  • Large, flimsy case

SUMMARY

  • An affordable 3-light package that will allow you to light great-looking video without breaking the bank.

$899

Smith Victor

301 North Colfax Street

Griffith, Indiana 46319-2849

(800) 348-9862

www.smithvictor.com

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